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Medical Induction of Labor
- Other procedures
Reasons for Procedure
- Get too large for a vaginal delivery
- Not receive enough oxygen through the placenta (the organ that links the mother and the baby)
- Stalled labor—If the medicine does not trigger labor, you may need a cesarean section (C-section).
- Strong contractions—The medicine that causes contractions could make them too strong. Although rare, this can lead to fetal distress and uterine rupture. In the event that your contractions are too strong, your doctor will lower the dose or stop the medicine.
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Description of the Procedure
- Gel that is applied to the cervix
- Suppository put in the vagina
- Pill taken by mouth
- Strip the membranes (separate your cervix from the tissues around the baby’s head)
- Expand a small balloon-tipped catheter in the cervix
- Place small cylinders that contain a type of sponge-like seaweed into the cervix
|Changes in the Cervix During Pregnancy|
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- Pain medicine given into your vein
- Epidural block
- Spinal block
- Local anesthesia
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
Call Your Doctor
- An unexplained fever of 100.4 degrees Farenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or above in the first two weeks
- Soaking more than one sanitary napkin an hour or if the bleeding level increases
- Wounds that become red, swollen, or drain pus
- New pain, swelling, or tenderness in your legs
- Hot-to-the-touch, significantly reddened, sore breasts
- Any cracking or bleeding from the nipple or areola (the dark-colored area of the breast)
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
- Painful urination or a sudden urge to urinate, inability to control urination
- Increasing pain in the vaginal area
- Cough or chest pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Depression, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, or any thoughts of harming your baby
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org/For%5FPatients
Women's Health.gov http://www.womenshealth.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
Harman JH, Kim A. Current trends in cervical ripening and labor induction. Am Fam Physician . 1999;60:477-484.
Induction of Labor. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Practice Bulletin No. 107 . August 2009.
Facts about labor induction. Am Fam Physician . 1999 Aug 1;60(2):484. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/990800ap/990800a.html . Accessed December 17, 2012.
Longer hospital stays for childbirth. National Center for Health Statistics website. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/hospbirth/hospbirth.htm . Updated November 18, 2009. Accessed December 17, 2012.
Morey SS. ACOG develops guidelines for induction of labor. Am Fam Physician . 2000 Jul 15;62(2):445. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000715/practice.html . Accessed December 17, 2012.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013